Directly when you enter the streets to the Muslim quarters you notice a different atmosphere. The people are dressed differently and the many food stands look different. It is very interesting. There are around 80000 Muslims in the city and they all seem to be focused in this area.
Soon we found a sign saying "The ancient mosque 150 meters. You are welcome!", so we turned around that corner in to a very narrow path between the houses. A couple of Muslim men ran past us hurrying forward and we saw then turn in to an opening ahead. We walked there and entered where they disappeared. As soon as we entered the mosque we understood why the men was in such a hurry. It was time for praying and the mosque was filled with people. So we stood still outside and watched them pray. The mosque is very beautiful but we didn't dare to take any pictures during the ceremony. So after about ten minutes we walked out from there. the picture to the right show how it looked just outside the main gate.
So we walked away and took a stroll through a small shopping street with everyting a tourist would ever want to buy and a lot of other crap. When we came to the other end of the shopping street we found an entrance to another mosque. If it wasn't for Girlwing I would have missed it totally. Thank gods that she can read Chinese! The first mosque we visited is actually the new mosque that was built instead of the old one. And I think the new one looked really really old.
The old mosque is around 1360 years old. The mosque is quite special in that it doesn't look Arabic at all but have a typical Chinese style. You can see some Arabic writings here and there but that is all. It is very beautiful with its gardens and ancient Chinese style houses. I think that is a good thing, because it is the religion that is the important thing, not the design of the buildings.
The entrance to the Great mosque of Xi'an.
One of the many cool houses in the garden.
The path to the Great mosque.
Several small "houses" on the way there.
Still on the path to the mosque.
Just a couple of more houses and then we are there...
Ah, there it is!
A quick look inside the Great mosque on Xi'An.